Category Archives: Healthy Living

A Journey To Healthier Living

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As mid January comes and goes I’m still wrapped in the thought of New Years! Even though I am a girl who could always stand to lose weight to be healthier, I am also the last girl in the world who would make that a new years resolution!

I don’t believe in restrictive diets, but when 2014 began, I started to think about what I wanted to add to my life to promote healthier living. I thought it was pretty clever to add things to my life at a time of year most people were looking at what to take away. I wanted to incorporate healthy choices that would free my body of toxins, increase my energy, and keep me warm, instead of spending the winter wishing I was permanently hooked up to an i.v drip of hot tea through the winter months.

I spent a lot of time reading about removing toxins and wanted to choose things that I could implement on a regular basis, and I would say, for the first six months of 2014, I kept to the following actions pretty consistently. In the morning I drank a glass of water that had a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, the juice of half a lemon and a dash of cayenne. At night I would coconut oil pull for 20 minutes. Twice a week I would take a hot bath in epsom salts, and I would also dry body brush regularly. Now, because I did this all at once, I can only guess at what particular action triggered the results I experienced. But there were clear changes on my body (Hi, my name is Kerri, by the way, pleased to meet you.).

Grace Coconut OilCoconut oil pulling is said to pull toxins from the mouth, shrink/eliminate cavities, and remove bad breath.I would say all of this was true while I oil pulled. I never woke up with morning breath, I could watch mucous squish out of my tongue, and I did see my cavities reduce in size. I also notices my breathing greatly improve and a sharpened sense of smell.

A toe nail fungus (patches of white on my big toe nails) cleared up that I have had since having kids 5 years ago and a scar on my knee that holds water in it, didn’t hold water anymore. There were also greyish/dry patches of skin on my knees that seemed to have been there forever that disappeared. I’m not sure if this was the epsom salt baths or apple cider vinegar related, but they were all victories in my books! I was amazed how one day I had very dry flaky skin on my arms and I used a dry body brush and painlessly revealed shiny new skin underneath.

For those of you that don’t enjoy the taste but want the benefits, Coconut oil is now available in softgels from Natural Factors!Coconut oil Caps

Now as I said, I did this for about six months, then the kids came out of school and I lost all of my routine. But these actions are like exercise is for me, when I do it, I love it, feel great and wonder why I don’t do it all the time?! So as the new year starts again, I begin again, moving forward on my journey to healthier living. I hope you too will find healthy actions to add to your life and always move forward with a healthy glow!

Guest blogger, Kerri Taschuk

Kerri Taschuk
Kerri Taschuk

Kerri Taschuk is a Winnipegger who loves to find new ways to green her home, family, neighbourhood and…herself! Currently blog-less, she can be found contributing to the Friends of Bishop Grandin Facebook page, volunteering for the David Suzuki Foundations BlueDot movement in Winnipeg, or out enjoying nature in the city….which may include picking up the kids from the bus!

Be fair, buy fair!

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Be fair, buy fair!

Fair trade, something a little foreign to most, as it was to me when I had first heard about it. For a large majority of my youth I never once thought about where my toys, clothes and food were coming from. It wasn’t until my seventh year in the public education system when I was first introduced to the idea of fair trade.

So what is it?

Fair trade changes what we put in our stores, it allows us to purchase items that were picked, made or processed, by an individual receiving a fair wage, in a safe working condition. Fairly traded products can ultimately change the rules of trade, ensuring better deals for those who grow, make or process the items we consume daily. It is a way for all of us to purchase products to generate positive changes in the world we live in today.

How does it work?fair-trade

Fairtrade Canada and Fairtrade International are non-profit organizations, both work with various partners across the globe to help change the standards of the flower, food, coffee and other industries. Fairtrade certified producers must pay their employees a decent wage (at or over the minimum wage in the region in which they are located), hire no individual below the age of 15, guarantee the right for the formation and participation in trade unions, provide safe and suitable housing when relevant, and follow all health and safety standards set by Fairtrade international/ Fairtrade Canada. These producers, farmers and individual artisans who are partnered with Fairtrade Canada or Fairtrade International develop meaningful and lasting trading relationships, they also receive an additional sum to invest in the growth and development of their communities.

Not only products with a Fairtrade international or Fairtrade Canada certification are in fact fairly traded. Products which are direct trade have very similar benefits of those with Fairtrade certifications; there is even some debate as to which is more beneficial to producers. Companies that label their products direct trade most often work directly with the farmers who harvest and process their product. All standards are determined by the company themselves, who frequently visit the farms in which their products are from to ensure the quality of their goods. These companies often state right on their product packaging that they pay equal to or higher than Fairtrade prices for their products. Producers and farmers working with direct trade companies create strong and lasting trading relationships, much like those who work with Fairtrade.

Another way to ensure that your product was fairly traded is to buy local! Companies or individuals who grow, make or process their products within Canada are required to follow health and safety standards set by each province and to pay their workers the minimum wage of wherever they may be located.

What to be careful of

Clothing
In the garment industry, sweatshops are unfortunately alarmingly normal.Employees work at the W & D Cambodia Co. Limited garment factory in Phnom Penh

Companies have used CSR programs (Corporate social responsibility) to claim responsible treatment of workers in the supply chain, while rejecting legal responsibility for workers’ safety or welfare”

This has allowed the garment industry to become one where poverty wages, unsafe and often abusive working conditions, exhausting hours and child labour are standard. However, as more and more light is shed on companies who use such tactics to produce their products, advancements of both human and labour rights are occurring.

Speaking as a shop-o-holic, buying anything to everything, this was the industry which gave me the most trouble. After learning about the frightening realities of global sweatshops I took a pledge to only purchase clothing which was made by an individual working in safe and comfortable conditions while receiving a fair wage. This I admit was quite difficult, after looking in my closet to find that almost all of my clothes were made by a company who produce their clothes in sweatshops I had to do some serious research. Luckily I found a few larger companies who fell under my criteria. This allowed me to continue my shopping addiction while supporting companies who produce their clothing responsibly. If you’re unsure of how your favourite brand of clothing produces their clothes, do some research or send an email to settle your suspicions.

Many other products such as dishes, toys, shoes and area mats, to name a few can be made irresponsibly. Do some digging on a company’s website to determine how their products are produced, I find it rather suspicious when they provide little or no information whatsoever regarding production. Send an email or search the companies name on the International Labour Organization’s website to see what’s actually going on.

What to buyshop_local.indd

It’s slightly overwhelming, but what’s not? It’s unrealistic to purchase absolutely everything fairly traded, but changing a few things that you buy is most definitely doable!

Switch out your regular morning cup of coffee or tea with a fairly traded one! I find that these are the easiest of products to find fair trade. Use direct trade cane sugar or fair trade cinnamon to make your cup a little more exciting. Trust me; it’ll make your day a whole lot better knowing that your entire cup of coffee is a fair one! Global Connections (at the forks) and Ten Thousand Villages are just some of the places in Winnipeg which offer an awesome selection of fairly traded items, including delicious coffees and teas! Not feeling the whole make your own cup of coffeetea, not to worry, try the Italian roast at Starbucks (certified fair trade by Fairtrade Canada) instead of your regular roast to ensure that your cup of goodness does well for all. Think local! Many local coffee shops and restaurants throughout Winnipeg offer at least one roast of fair trade coffee, if not tea as well. Check out Boon Burger Cafe and Black Pearl for some awesome Fairtrade certified coffees and teas.

Chocolate, another little something easy to find fair trade, you can now indulge into your weakness without feeling too bad about it. Taza and Camino have some seriously delicious fairly traded chocolate.

sew dandee magnetClothing, somewhat tricky, but also very doable. American Apparel is probably one of the most well known “sweatshop free” clothing companies out there, look there for basics and vintage inspired clothing. Up cycle! Thrift, make new shirts from old ones, cut pants into shorts or simply look in the back of your parents’ closet. This is a way to not only reduce our consumption but a way to wear original clothes without directly supporting companies who exploit manufactures who produce clothes irresponsibly. Look for local designers like Jill Zurzolo for Sew Dandee who design and produce their own clothes right here in Manitoba. Like I said, it may be difficult, but by supporting some of Manitoba’s very own designers, making a monthly trip to the thrift store, and up cycling those ratty old jeans into some sweet shorts it’s quite possible to make your wardrobe a fair one.

Part of why I love my job here at Generation Green is because of all the awesome local and fairly traded products that we carry! From direct trade cane sugar, vanilla beans, mouth-watering chocolate, dried fruit, spices, aprons and so much more, Generation Green has certainly become my happy place!

As consumers, we can create positive changes throughout the world just by altering 3 or 4 items on our grocery lists, they may be small changes, but it’s something. So start small, try a fair trade coffee and tea and see where that takes you. Even if it’s only one thing you buy, I know from experience that that item can truly get you thinking about what you consume.

~Dallas Gillingham 

 

Amber, Not Just For Babies!

amber1If you have heard of Baltic Amber or Healing Amber, you more than likely associate it with babies and relief for teething pain, but Baltic Amber is so much more than that!

Baltic Amber is fossilized tree resin that has been used for centuries as a natural homeopathic pain reliever, and for boosting immunity.

I have had so many testimonials from parents who have found relief for teething pain and drooling, as well as colic and general fussiness with infants.  I also can personally testify to the benefits as an adult wearing Baltic Amber for chronic neck pain and migraines.  Other adults as well find relief  for pain and inflammation from issues such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, aching muscles and joints, stress relief and even hormone balancing!mom and baby amber

The warmth from the skin releases the active ingredient in the Baltic Amber, succinic acid, which is then absorbed into the bloodstream. Scientific research has proved that succinic acid has a very positive influence on the human body for healing.

Baltic Amber is lightweight and very comfortable to wear, in fact I never remove mine so that I constantly am able to receive the absorption of succinic acid.  It is fine even to shower or swim with it on.

The string in each of the amber necklaces and bracelets/anklets are double knotted by hand in between each and every bead, so should the necklace break, the rest of the beads will not scatter. The jewelry fastens with a screw clasp that opens and closes easily for adults. The amber beads never lose their effectiveness or need to be charged in sunlight to activate.  Colour, unpolished vs polished make no difference in the effectiveness either.

When using for babies and teething pain relief, the jewelry is meant to be worn not chewed!  For safety reasons consider double wrapping necklaces around your infant’s ankle when putting to bed, in order to continue to receive the benefits of amber while sleeping.

Authentic vs. Imitation Amber 
Test it for yourself!  Real Amber is buoyant in salt water.  To do this test, mix 1 part salt with 2 parts water, and dissolve the salt completely.  Drop your piece into the mixture.  Plastic and copal will sink, while amber floats.

We carry a full line of Healing Baltic Amber at Generation Green in various sizes and colours.

 

Learning to Relax

When I’m writing an article, I’m usually offering up some useful tips or advice.  I love to research new ideas and test them out for myself.  If they work for me, then I can’t help but share them!

This time however, I’m asking you for advice.   Over the past few years I have become increasingly worse at having down time.  I know this sounds a little absurd but let me give you the back story.

I have always been very on the go.  I was in a lot of extracurricular activities in elementary and middle school.  When I got to High School, things didn’t change, I just added on more responsibility.  I got my first job a month after turning 15.  I got a second job at sixteen and I’ve had 2 or more jobs ever since.  However, through all this, I could always appreciate my free time.    I used to love to just sit and do nothing, in silence.  I suppose I was meditating long before I consciously tried meditating.

This was all fine, until about 2 years ago.  I noticed that I was go, go, go… or I was cozied up in my bed, either sleeping or watching TV.  I also realized that I couldn’t fall asleep to silence, or even just sit and enjoy silence.  This has only gotten worse over the last two years.   But instead of stopping to think about this, I just take on more work, or obligations, so I’m not at home being a zombie.

Finally I mentioned this to a few people and they all said the same thing to me, that I don’t know how to enjoy my time and just to relax.

This January my only goal was to SLOW DOWN, even just take one day off a week.  Well, it’s almost the end of January, and I can’t stand my days off.  I don’t know what to do with myself.  If we’re being honest, I’ve just ended up picking up shifts on those days so I’m not sitting around.

So my question for you is “How Do I Learn to Love Time off Again”?  What do you guys do on days off, how do I accomplish “me” time without feeling guilty or lazy?  And how can I re-appreciate the silence like I once did.

You can leave your responses in the comment section below, or send us a tip on facebook or email.  I will try out any advice and keep you all updated

-Amy

In, On & Around!

Today I had the amazing opportunity to attend the 22nd annual, Guardian Angel Benefit for Women’s Cancer.

The centrepieces
The centrepieces

The theme this year was Manitoba’s largest Tea Party! Such a lovely, classy setting was created for a crowd of 1400, that were mostly women. We sipped our tea, from authentic tea cups (that were donated with stories attached of their history) and in true high tea fashion, nibbled on tiny sandwiches and scones with jams.  To have this time with some of my closest friends, was really special, especially when you hear the statistics that 1 in 9 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, which is the most common amongst women.  I unfortunately already have known friends to have had this diagnosis, but thankfully they are survivors.

20131027_161920The guest speaker this year was Fran Drescher, who created and starred in “The Nanny”.  Fran was so inspiring with her personal story of  diagnosis and survival.  She spoke so honestly and openly, and I seriously could have listened to her all day. Fran has created a movement called “Cancer Schmancer” and wrote a best-selling book likewise titled.

Fran’s focus is not on a cure but rather on prevention, as prevention starts the cure! Early detection is what is needed, and in order to do that we need to start by questioning what is going in, on, and around our bodies!  Just start with one area, and it will create a domino affect in your life.

Becoming aware of what exactly I was putting on & in my body, as well as using to clean my home, was exactly where I started almost 6 years ago.   I didn’t have Fran’s thinking of cancer prevention, but more out of fear and grasping for some control. Due to my own health scare with first being diagnosed with a rare type of uterine cancer, having to have a complete hysterectomy, then finding out what presented as cancer initially, was rare type of tumour, but thankfully not cancer. It is though what got my ball rolling, I didn’t know what was the cause, so I wanted to make sure I was doing all I could to protect myself, and my family.

Cancer Survivors were the models in the fashion show. They all looked amazing!
Cancer Survivors were the models in the fashion show. They all looked amazing!

Fast forward to a year ago when I decided to open Generation Green.  My intention was to try to let others know there were safer alternatives to some conventional products.   Creating awareness though is the first step. I personally believed for the longest of time, that someone had to have my best interest at heart, and there is no way that a potential carcinogen could be in my shampoo! We should not have to live fearfully, we should demand products that are safe, and we can only do this by the choices we make.  Every purchase is a vote basically for what will stay on the shelf, so think about it and read the ingredients before you purchase. My health is nothing I take for granted, and neither should you.  Take control, and become aware of the “In/On & Around”.

 “From the bitterness of disease man learns the sweetness of health.”  ~Catalan Proverb

Silent Auction donations were over the top!
Silent Auction donations were over the top!

Did you know…According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the highest levels of airborne Formaldehyde have been detected in indoor air where it is released from various consumer products. Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen, causing various types of cancer.

Fran’s website has some great tips on cancer prevention, check them out here.

My Week With A Diva

… A Diva Cup that is.  A heads up, if you don’t want to read about a menstrual cycle, this isn’t the article for you.

diva cup                 A Diva Cup is a silicone “cup” that you use instead of a tampon or a pad.  It is closer to a tampon, since you insert it, but all similarities stop there.  Tampons are bleached and full of chemicals and have scary Toxic Shock Syndrome warnings all over the box.  Diva Cups are clear, bleaching and gross leaching chemical free, and have no scary warnings plastered all over the box.  You also only have to change it 2-3 times every 24 hours!

I have to admit, I was slightly intimidated by using one of these, but after the first use, all fears went away.  I bought my Diva Cup a few days before my expected period and just carried it in the little bag that comes with it in my purse.  I also had some unscented castile soap in my purse to wash it out before and after uses.  Important to note, Soap has to be UNSCENTED to wash your cup and for the health of your lady bits.  Fortunately I was at home when my little “friend” came so I was comfortable, relaxed and not rushed; all important qualities for your first time.    I thoroughly read the instructions and then just relaxed my muscles.  It’s important not to feel tense, otherwise it makes it more difficult to insert.  

  But on to the important things, how did it hold up?!

Well, on my first day, the heaviest, Diva and I went to Hot Yoga.  She stayed put through Downward Dog, Eagle and my Vinyasas!  I also rode to and from yoga on my bike, as well as a bike ride later that evening.  I had no spotting/leaking, a sign that indicates a properly inserted Diva Cup, and I didn’t feel it at all. 

The second day I went for a 50 km bike ride, and usually I will start to feel some discomfort if I do that kind of ride with a tampon in, however it didn’t even cross my mind until later that evening that I felt nothing with the Diva Cup.  It doesn’t slip or move around whilst in position and doesn’t put pressure on any part. bike amy

Throughout the rest of the week, Diva and I stayed pretty active.  Lots of bike rides, some attempts at Cart Wheels in the park, Frisbee, long walks accompanied by some ice cream…  And there were no major issues! 

Emptying the Diva Cup is probably the second most daunting task.  It is best to do at home, where you can empty it, clean it and re-insert it without fear of someone walking in.  Once again, relax, and use your muscles to help push it out.  There’s a small “tail” on the end of the cup that you can grab to help pull it out.  Ladies, time and time again we hear the benefits of doing Kegel exercises, well here’s another area where they will help!   If you can push it out with your muscles then great!  If not, you can pull it from the bottom, (make sure you have clean hands) and carefully pull it out, keeping in mind not to tilt it so it spills.  You simply then wash it out with warm water and your soap, and you’re back in business!

I will say that occasionally there was a slight bit of spotting.  However it was incredibly minimal, and probably due to the fact that I hadn’t inserted my cup properly that time. 

All in all, my week with the Diva was fantastic, comfortable, clean, and stress free!  I can’t recommend it enough!

-A

 

Oil of Oregano – Boost your health!

We now stock Joy of the Mountains A+ Oil of Oregano.

Oil of Oregano + Vitamin A is beneficial for preventing infection,  and offers added protection for those with a compromised immune system.

Safe for children ages 4+ and elderly.

A+ Oil of Oregano helps to:

  • Maintain immune function and good health
  • Fights off infection by maintaining cell wall strength against viruses
  • Make white blood cells which destroys harmful bacteria and viruses
  • Protect against free radical damage, with powerful antioxidant action
  • Maintain external tissues and membranes as physical barrier to infection

Who should take Oil of Oregano?

  • Elderly
  • Those that are chronically ill
  • Those who wish to decrease their risk of infection

Joy of the Mountains Oil of Oregano is wildcrafted, and certified organic by Ecocert, which ensures the highest level of quality assurance possible.

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Joy of the Mountains also provides us with OregaPet line of products.  Great for natural first aid and oral hygiene.

Recognized as one of the most powerful & useful natural remedies, oregano oil is an effective treatment against a variety of disease-causing organisms.

A powerful antioxidant & anti-inflammatory, both inside & out!

Viral, fungal, parasitic and bacterial infections pose a real threat to your pet’s well-being, help them boost their immunity and fight off infection with Oil of Oregano OregaPet line.